Mandi, a lazy town on the banks of the river Beas, lies in the heart of Himachal Pradesh. Himachal Pradesh is blessed by nature owing to its geographic location; it is at the foothills of the Shivalik range of the Himalayas. Since Mandi lies in the kullu valley, it has a cool but pleasant climate throughout the year.
To reach this town of Mandi you can take the train from any of the Indian metros and land in Shimla, Jogindernagar, Kalka or Chandigarh. From there you could take a private vehicle or hop onto a bus to reach Mandi. Bhuntar airport in Himachal is the nearest airport and has regular flights from Delhi via Chandigarh.
For all those women it’s good to know that shopping in Mandi can be very exciting. Mandi has many shops and markets which cater to all types of tourists. Himachal Pradesh is famous for its handicrafts and tribal arts. Shopping in Mandi for any of these artefacts can be fun.
Before you go shopping in Mandi it's good to know exactly which products Himachal is famous for like the Tibetan items, tribal handicrafts or woodworks. You will find many Tibetan shops and bazaars while shopping in Mandi. Tibetan wool is extremely soft and of high quality. There are many street side stalls belonging to the Tibetans. You may land a good bargain at one of these quaint shops on your shopping in Mandi. Himachal is famous for its pahari woodwork , which is done in either deodar or sheesham wood. They make detailed sculptures of the Hindu deities, carved according to iconographic rules. They may appear crude or ugly to the common eye but this is a different form of art which only a true connoisseur of art can appreciate.
Pahari art has preserved their folklore, culture and traditions through their sculpture. The sculptures are of two types; freestanding or three dimensional, or unidimensional, carved on wooden planks. These sculptures can be unique artefacts for your house or act as wonderful mementos. Pahari people have small shacks near temples where they sell their goods. Some of their artefacts can be very costly, but these simple people are always open to bargain.
Mandi has been the town for traders since many centuries, it used to be the gateway to Tibet in olden times. The city was ruled by the Mandi kings and has a beautiful palace made in white with a pagoda as a roof. The city also has 81 temples along the banks of the Beas, some of these temples are shaped like shikaras.
While shopping in Mandi, it is advisable to find out the right places to shop, from your tour guide or hotel manager. The locals hike the prices and sell their goods; this is done because they are expecting the tourists to bargain. Well that is the key to getting an affordable price for those great artefacts. When you visit some of the surrounding towns like Sundernagar, be sure to keep your eyes open for some rare tribal and pahari handicrafts.
Last Updated On: 2011/07/07